Aerial of Downtown, 1963

Portland was just on the verge of growing taller as this 1963 photo was taken. The Standard Plaza and Hilton Hotel buildings were brand new. The pace would accelerate in the late 60s and 70s when the (then) First Interstate Bank tower was built, still our tallest building. The Standard Plaza and Hilton are not on even on the tallest 20 list now. Harbor Drive still ruled our west waterfront, I-5 had not completely choked off our east waterfront, and I-84 in the distance was a commuters dream.

(City of Portland Archives)

Commonwealth Building Ad, 1906

This 1906 advertisement for the Commonwealth Building featured some copywriter’s idea of a clever hook, “Just a Boat-Length North of Washington St.” I’m not sure how far that’s supposed to be but what the copy lacks, the rich illustration makes up for. The view is north up 6th from Morrison in the foreground. On the left are the Portland Hotel, Marquam Building, and Oregonian Building with the Wells Fargo Building farther down. The Commonwealth was featured here on an earlier Vintage Portland posting.

(The Oregonian. Retrieved from

Service Radio – Mystery Location

Our mystery location this time is somewhere in Portland’s downtown area. The building still exists and would be very recognizable standing at this vantage point today. Happy hunting!

(City of Portland Archives)

SE Foster & 50th, 1937

This should be a familiar sight to anyone who’s passed by the intersection of SE Foster Rd. and 50th Avenue. The cars and businesses have changed but the buildings remain the same. All three buildings in this 1937 photo still remain.

(City of Portland Archives)

W Burnside & 5th, 1928

Portland’s working men could get almost anything they needed on the corner of West Burnside and SW 5th in 1928. Clothing, shoes, raingear, hats and more could be found here. Step next door and get the shoes shined or a shave. There are several ghost pedestrians in this photo as well as a street sweeper with his broom and cart. This view is west on Burnside to the right and south on 5th to the left. The edge of this building can be seen on this previous post.

(City of Portland Archives)

Kelly Butte, 1963

This 1963 aerial view shows Kelly Butte and surrounding area looking northeast. Much of the neighborhood in the lower left would be leveled for the I-205 freeway, Tri-Met garage, City of Portland’s Communications Services Building, and Ed Benedict City Park.

(City of Portland Archives)

Strowbridge Building, 1977

The 1875 Strowbridge Building is one of Portland’s cast-iron success stories. The wave of destruction of these buildings in the 1940s through the early 1970s spared the Strowbridge despite obvious signs of disrepair and a disastrous ground floor remodel seen here. Today it stands beautifully restored on the corner of SW 1st and Yamhill.

(University of Oregon Libraries)